Chargers head coach Brandon Staley has gone from success to hot seat, is his job in jeopardy?

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley has gone from success to hot seat, is his job in jeopardy?

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley has gone from success to hot seat, is his job in jeopardy?

Brandon Staley was perhaps the hottest name in the head coaching market in 2021, hot off the heels of leading the LA Rams to number one defense in his first season as defensive coordinator. Two years later as head coach of the LA Chargers, after giving the Jacksonville Jaguars a 27-0 lead in Saturday night’s wild card game, Staley is now sitting in the hottest seat in the game. NFL.

With the Chargers embarrassingly knocked out of the playoffs, after two seasons of questionable decisions and disappointing results with a stacked roster, does Staley even have a chance of still being head coach in 24 hours?

He doesn’t seem to have many supporters anymore, if there were even that many left before the game.

Staley could have had several jobs to choose from two years ago and likely chose the Chargers in part because of the team’s hefty roster, deep pockets, star quarterback Justin Herbert and the likelihood that they are finally about to make a deep run in the playoffs.

His first season was littered with controversial practice decisions, and the Chargers missed the playoffs with a 9-8 record, losing three of their last four games. In fact, four of the last five games LA has lost in 2021 have been against coaches who are out of work: Mike Zimmer’s Vikings, Vic Fangio’s Broncos, David Culley’s Texans and Jon Gruden’s Raiders.

Out of season surge

The Chargers intended to be a more dominant team in 2022, trading for All-Pro passing thrower Khalil Mack, signing Pro Bowl cornerback JC Jackson and drafting guard Zion Johnson in the first round to help protect Herbert. Expectations for Staley’s Chargers were high this year, and that’s why he signed up by accepting the Los Angeles head coaching job, but the Chargers then fell to a 6- 6 after a loss to the Raiders in Week 13.

With the questions and skepticism that have always followed Staley during his short tenure with the Chargers due to oft-cited decisions with an over-reliance on analysis, there was already reason to believe the franchise could fire him after just two seasons if LA missed the AFC playoffs. Staley’s Chargers responded by winning the next four games.

Then the roller coaster plunged again.

Week 18 Offshoots

Staley’s decision to play starters in a Week 18 game against the Denver Broncos most expected to be meaningless – except for Staley – star receiver Mike Williams suffered a back injury which caused him to miss Saturday’s Wild Card playoff game. And the Chargers still lost to the Broncos, 31-28. At the Broncos 5-12.

There had already been talk before the game that Staley could be fired if LA lost to the Jaguars, with the Chargers likely having the firepower and the call to lure the hugely popular Sean Payton at the moment, but then he seemed to let it go the mic on these reviews. . The Chargers intercepted Trevor Lawrence four times in the first half, three by Asante Samuel, and Staley’s side took a 27-0 road lead.

He dropped the mic too soon.

And then came the Jaguars game…

Whether Williams would have made a difference in the game or not is up for debate, as giving up 24 points to Jacksonville in the second half and four touchdown passes to Lawrence after his nightmarish start is definitely an issue that will haunt Staley forever, but control of the game and his players appeared to be out of the head coach’s reach long before the winning final basket for the Jaguars.

The Chargers were outplayed in every facet of the game that didn’t include Samuel making elite cornerback plays in the first 20 minutes. Staley was outplayed moment by moment by Jacksonville’s Doug Pederson. Once considered the fastest defensive guru in all of pro football, Staley’s defense was scorched for 109 rushing yards by Travis Etienne and Lawrence threw touchdowns to four different players.

With a defensive roster that included top players like Derwin James, Joey Bosa, Samuel and Mack, the Staley Chargers were selected by a Jaguars team that managed just six points against the Texans in Week 5, 14 points against the Lions in Week 13, and just 20 points against the Titans a week earlier.

Whatever ammunition Staley’s critics needed to complete their case for the LA Chargers to change head coaches after the season, they fully recharged after snuffing out a 27-0 second-half lead.

What’s next for Staley and the Chargers?

Staley was a great free agent coach two years ago. It could be back on the market much sooner than expected.

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